Secondary Schools


Secondary Schools are for students in grades 9-1, usually around ages 13-18 years old. Students who graduate from high school get an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). Secondary schools may be called high schools.


Some high schools are semestered and some are non-semestered. If a school is semestered then students will have the same 4 classes every day from September until January; from February until June students will have a different set of 4 classes every day. At the end of each semester students will write final exams and get a report card. If a school is non-semestered then students will have 8 classes through the entire school year. The school year for these students is usually split into terms. Students will get a report card and may write an exam at the end of each term.


In secondary school there are certain classes that students have to take. These are known as “required classes” or “compulsory credits”. Outside of these required classes students have optional classes that they can choose from. Students will be guided in order to make sure that they are taking the right number of classes that is needed to graduate.


In secondary school, students will often have a different teacher for each class, though your child may have the same teacher for more than 1 class over their four years in secondary school.

Guidance Counsellors

Students in secondary school have a guidance counsellor who can help them make choices on what classes to take or on what to do after secondary school. Guidance counsellors can work with your child to get them extra help or to answer questions that they may have.


In order to attend school your child needs to have certain immunizations.

Two teenage girls holding a sign that says "you can make a difference"


In high school students need to complete 40 hours of community service. You can learn more about this on the volunteering page of this website.

Extra-curricular Activities

Students will have the opportunity to join in activities outside of regular classes. Examples of extra-curricular activities include school plays, sports teams, art clubs, and student government.

More Resources

For more in-depth information on secondary schools (high schools) you can access The Newcomer’s Guide to Secondary School in Ontario: